Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Flashback from August

Better late than never... If you missed our August 26 event We All Have A Right To The Truth or want to refresh your memory, you can finally watch the presentations and Q & A session at: (presentations) (Q & A)

You can also listen or download the Rabble podcast at:

The event with its heavy topic - violation of the human rights and civil rights, increasing surveillance, torture, and accountability - attracted over 80 people to the Glebe Community Center. Moderated by Carleton U human rights instructor, Bill Skidmore, the two-hour discussion was enlightening and thought provoking.

The first speaker, Abdullah Almalki, a Canadian who was detained and tortured in Syria based on the information provided by the Canadian government agencies, told that the release from the Syrian prison in 2004 was only a beginning for a new struggle – search for justice in Canada: “My life has been destroyed, my family has been severely affected and a good number of Canadian citizens have faced similar ordeals but until today not a single government official has been held accountable.”

Yavar Hameed, the counsel for Abousfian Abdelrazik (another Canadian whose civil rights were violated by the government) pointed out the need for solid journalism in order to make cases like this public, and to correct the misinformation that the government tends to spread whenever higher levels of governance are or have been involved. Hameed also reminded the audience about the importance of grass roots involvement: in Abdelrazik’s case, the project Fly Home was launched and over 100 courageous Canadians helped to purchase a ticket for him, even though they could have been subjected to federal prosecution.

The final speaker, Maureen Webb, the author of Illusions of Security, linked Almalki’s and Abdelrazik’s experiences to the new global security environment. This environment, including the creation of global registration system and the global surveillance of movement has lead to intensified international data sharing and mining. “Surveillance is used not just to follow up on leads, but rather to generate leads. And it’s used even more alarmingly, to predict who among us might be a terrorist.”

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